Football weekend: Area players pile up yards
Tackling seems to be a lost art in the state.
How else do you explain the ridiculous rushing totals put up by a number of area high school players last Friday night?
Edgerton’s Ricky Williams led the parade with a school-record 342 rushing yards in a win over Brodhead/Juda. Janesville Craig’s Tom Gabower had 223 yards on the ground in the first quarter and finished with 287 against Verona, despite sitting out most of the second half with an ankle injury.
In fact, four of the top 10 rushing performances in the state last weekend came from the area. Noah Diaz of Sun Prairie finished with 271 yards and Jefferson’s Garrett Blaeske had 262. Williams’ electrifying 342-yard performance topped the state.
In this pass-happy era of football, abandoning the run is not a wise option. Come playoff time, a team’s ability to run the ball will get them a lot farther than throwing the ball. Especially in inclement weather.
Week three began conference play for the majority of area schools except those in the Rock Valley South, which begin conference play Friday night.
Lake Geneva Badger (2-1, 1-0) cemented its status as the team to beat in the Southern Lakes with an impressive 28-6 win over two-time defending champion Waterford.
Verona and Craig continued the recent scoring trend with a 118-point outburst in the Wildcats’ 69-49 win. The score would’ve likely been higher and the game closer had Gabower not sat out most of the second half with an ankle injury.
Fort Atkinson opened the Badger South Conference season with a win and takes a 3-0 record into Friday’s game at rival Milton (0-3).
The Big Eight has three undefeated teams left in Sun Prairie, Madison La Follette and Madison Memorial, and all three will be tested tonight.
Here’s a look at three area games of note tonight and Friday:
Sun Prairie (3-0, 3-0) at Janesville Craig (1-2, 1-2) 7 p.m., tonight (Monterey Stadium)—The tough-luck Cougars, who have led in the second half in both losses this season, will try and derail the defending Big Eight champion Cardinals.
Craig lost quarterback Tom Gabower to an ankle injury early in the second half in last Friday’s shootout loss to Verona and the senior is not expected back tonight. Tailback Trevon Hall, who suffered a concussion in week two, is also expected to miss tonight’s game.
Offense has not been a problem this season for Craig. The Cougars are averaging a robust 37.3 points per game, but the defense is allowing 41.33 points a game, including 69 to Verona last Friday.
Sun Prairie is ranked fourth in the state but has not played like the Division 1 runner-up team from a year ago. The Cardinals had to scrape to get by Madison West and Verona before coasting past Beloit Memorial last Friday.
The Cardinals’ Noah Diaz leads the conference in rushing with 569 yards, and Ryan Curran is one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the state.
Best guess: Sun Prairie 42, Craig 13.
Whitewater (3-0, 1-0) at Edgerton (2-1, 1-0), 7 p.m., Friday—The Crimson Tide plays an undefeated team for the third week in a row. The Whippets, under first-year coach Anthoni Parr, are the surprise team thus far in the Rock Valley North.
Whitewater is averaging 27.3 points per game thanks to the play of quarterback Scott Gorsuch. The senior has thrown for 526 yards and rushed for 240. He’s second in the Rock Valley in passing behind East Troy’s Brandon Matz.
Edgerton counters with tailback Ricky Williams. The senior shattered the school rushing record last Friday with 342 yards in a pivotal 28-20 win over Brodhead/Juda, the program’s first win at Brodhead since 1995. Williams’ record total broke the previous mark of 278 set by Jesse Appel in 1998.
The winner of this game has the inside track to the Rock Valley North title along with Jefferson.
Best guess: Edgerton 27, Whitewater 7.
Delavan-Darien (1-2, 0-1) at Elkhorn (2-1, 1-0), 7 p.m., Friday—The Comets make the short trip up Interstate 43 perhaps needing a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Elks will look to go to 2-0 in the Southern Lakes and move a step closer to the school’s first playoff berth since 2008.
Delavan-Darien quarterback Jesse Collins is second in the state with 10 rushing touchdowns. The junior has rushed for 347 yards on the season and thrown for 405 yards.
It starts with defense for Elkhorn. The Elks shut out Cudahy 38-0 in their opener and beat Westosha Central, 14-2, in the Southern Lakes opener last Friday.
Best guess:Delavan-Darien 30, Elkhorn 20.
High school football
(7 p.m. starting times unless indicated)
Sun Prairie (3-0) at Janesville Craig (1-2)
Janesville Parker (0-3) at Beloit Memorial (0-3)
Verona (2-1) at Madison La Follette (3-0)
Madison Memorial (3-0) at Madison West (1-2)
Madison East (0-3) at Middleton (2-1)
ROCK VALLEY NORTH
Whitewater (3-0, 1-0) at Edgerton (2-1, 1-0)
East Troy (1-2, 0-1) at Jefferson (3-0, 1-0)
Evansville/Albany (1-2, 0-1) at McFarland (2-1, 1-0)
ROCK VALLEY SOUTH
Orfordville Parkview (0-3, 0-0) at Walworth Big Foot (3-0, 0-0)
Brodhead/Juda (2-1, 0-0) at Beloit Turner (1-2, 0-0)
Clinton (2-1, 0-0) at Palmyra-Eagle (1-2, 0-0)
Fort Atkinson (3-0, 1-0) at Milton (0-3, 0-1)
Monroe (0-3, 0-0) at Monona Grove (3-0, 1-0)
Madison Edgewood (2-1, 1-0) at Stoughton (1-2, 0-1)
Waunakee (1-2, 0-1) at Oregon (1-2, 0-1) (crossover)
Burlington (3-0, 1-0) at Lake Geneva Badger (2-1, 1-0)
Delavan-Darien (1-2, 0-1) at Elkhorn (2-1, 1-0)
Wilmot (2-1, 1-0) at Waterford (1-2, 0-1)
Westosha Central (0-3, 0-1) at Union Grove (0-3, 0-1)